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Phthalate-containing soft PVC toys and childcare articles

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Phthalate-containing soft PVC toys and childcare articles

Toys intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age and containing phthalates are prohibited throughout the European Union (EU); importing these products is also prohibited. Phthalates are toxic substances that may be found in soft PVC, a type of plastic which is also used in the manufacturing of toys.


Directive 2005/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 amending for the 22nd time Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (phthalates in toys and childcare articles).


This Directive prohibits the use of certain categories of phthalates in the manufacture of toys and childcare articles * intended for children.

It applies to the following chemical substances: di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP).

A second group of phthalates may be potentially dangerous to health; it consists of: di-iso nonyl phthalate (DINP), di-iso-decyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP). However, in the absence of adequate scientific information, the prohibition on these substances is limited to toys and childcare articles which can be placed in the mouth by children.

The Commission regularly reviews the prohibition measures to bring them into line with developments in scientific knowledge.


The first warning against the use of phthalates in toys was the Recommendation adopted by the Commission on 1 July 1998 concerning toys and childcare articles intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age, made of soft PVC and containing phthalates.

The Commission consulted the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SCTEE) at the time, which had confirmed toxicity hazards. Decision 1999/815/EC made it possible to prohibit the use of certain phthalates on the basis of the legislation on general product safety. In particular, this legislation makes it possible to restrict the marketing of a product or to withdraw it quickly if it presents a serious health risk, thanks to the Community rapid information system (RAPEX).

Key terms used in the act

  • Childcare article: any product intended to facilitate sleep, relaxation, hygiene, the feeding of children, or sucking on the part of children.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2005/84/EC



OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005

See also

Directorate-General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission:

  • Community rapid information system (RAPEX)
  • Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (SCTEE)

Last updated: 15.06.2011